Left in the Dust

It’s been a rough few weeks. Our road trip to the Northwest was beautiful but I was limited in my ability to get around, so Susie had to do more than her share (and she did so gladly).

Part of learning about cancer is learning a whole new vocabulary. This week, our term is “radiation necrosis”.  According to one of my doctors, that means the radiation did its’ job —  just a bit too well. So well that it left a rim of scar tissue where the bulk of the tumor once was. This scar tissue is pressing down on my brain and has basically put my entire right side to sleep. Tomorrow we’ll find out if it stays or if it goes (whether or not I’ll have surgery to remove it).

This is all troublingly reminiscent of Susie’s mom, who had this very same cancer while Susie and I were dating. With each surgery, there was a little less of Phyllis left behind. That’s the conundrum of brain cancer; all the available options have high risks. In this case, doing nothing means a loss of function and quality of life, while acting radically (surgery) can either fix things or really mess me up.

So how will I make this decision? Well, I was the youngest of 4 kids and I hated being left in the dust. I felt like I spent all my time just trying to keep up. Cancer has made me feel that way again. So, the answer as to whether or not I’ll choose surgery is an easy one for me. If someone is offering me a way to keep up with the pack (my family), I’ll grab at it.

When this all started I somehow pictured myself being healthy until the end — and then it would simply be over. That hasn’t been the case and that’s what I’m finding most difficult. So my hopes are that in the coming days I’ll have surgery and I’ll awaken stronger, more mobile and ready to run with the pack.

In the meantime, I’m receiving daily foot massages from Hannah, watching way too much Netflix and doing my best to remember that others have it far worse. Mostly, I’m just looking forward to getting back out there with a full head of steam (rather than scar tissue).

I hope some of this will inspire you to appreciate your bodies and put them to good use (perhaps you’ll join The Nancarrow Project Team for the San Diego Brain Tumor Foundation’s 5k fun run/walk later this month).

Nemo liber est qui corpori servit.



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164 comments on “Left in the Dust
  1. Anonymous says:

    I just found this blog of yours I loved watching you when I still lived in California. You are the best sports caster i have ever seen you humor was always refreshing.

  2. Rebecca Driver says:

    Hi Lorin, I think of you and Susie often and send you Love and Light. As you have given to so many over the years. This post really resonated with me. I remember when Susie went through this with her Mom. So hard when she was so young. Also 5 yrs ago Michael chose surgery for 3 crumbling discs in his neck which stabilized vertebrae but left him with permanent damage to his spinal cord, numbness and loss of feeling to ALL his extremities and chronic head aches. He can walk, but no longer able to enjoy any of the activities we used to do together. No surfing, golf, tennis. He never complains. We’ve been to many Doctors who are no help and say be thankful you can walk. Driving a car or an airplane ride are torcher, do we bought a motor home and I drove him all the way to Michigan to watch Jacpb play football for SDSU. I’d never driven a motorhome before. We had a blast. Life is very different now than we imagined, but we appreciate the simple things. Michael coaches freshman football at LCC for fun. No one knows how hard it is for him to do that. He is home on full disability now and he continues to amaze and inspire me. No longer the big shot business man. Home now on our 2.2 acres on Lake Dr. Hidden amongst the green houses. Michael enjoys our dogs and his koi and fresh water turtles. I know you are similar to Michael putting family 1st and enjoying the simple pleasures life brings taking it as it comes. Life on life’s terms. Really not fair at all, and of course there is always someone less fortunate than you are, but? That doesn’t really make anyone feel better does it?
    I had cancer 16 yrs. ago , the kids were 4,6, and 8, but while boobs are lovely especially when your 34, you can live without them just fine. Not like a brain. Rechael would come with me to radiation treatments and play with the receptionist. You just do what you have to do to get through it. One silver lining for me was I thought it was so cool to have people all over praying for me, it can’t hurt? Also I learned to ask for help. People would say is there anything I can do? The typical answer is no but thanks. Well I learned I did need help and it made them feel better to do so. So I graciously accepted dinners from the community, my sister in-law put it on a calendar. Others helped watch my kids or walk the dog. And 9 months later, a whole school year of surgery, chemo, radiation, reconstruction, I was better , eventually hair grew back and life went on. Now 50 and 25 yrs.married its a distant nightmare. I wish you all the best. I’ve always loved your enthusiasm and Susie is great. You both deserve only good things to happen. We are all cheering for you to beat this thing and put it behind you. And of course if there is anything I can do for you or your family? We are listed in the phone book or face book’ love to you and your family, sincerely Rebecca Driver

  3. Peacewolf says:

    Dear Loren and the rest of the Team,
    This is the strangest trip I’ve ever been on. Sharing your trip with us has been so educational, so enlightening, and so difficult. And that’s from this side. Any time you need to step back, slack off, and not be so strong, you have that right .
    “God giveth and God taketh away”. Or, I prefer to believe that the cosmos is unfolding just exactly the way it’s supposed to. But I don’t have to like it.
    Loren, from my perspective, you have given us so much already; you’ve been an outstanding tv guy for so long. From stuff like the best way to get rid of ants to how to keep the Christmas tree fresh; you’ve been one of my favorite tv personalities. You have been so genuine and so real, perhaps now more than ever.
    Thank you for teaching the rest of us how to be real. And strong. And real strong.
    Be real!

  4. patti Smiley says:

    Always on your team, Loren.

  5. Nancy Woodward says:

    Thankyou for sharing this journey with all of us….an inspiration for everyone! Love to you and your wonderful supportative family.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Loren – so good to hear from you again. While we love hearing from your family, those of us who have known you for 25+ years want to know how you are doing from your perspective. While I am fortunate not to have cancer, I will be having inpatient surgery for the first time ever in a couple of weeks. Like you, I’ve approached the decision about this boldly where if there’s something potentially to be gained – bring it on. I will think of you and your strength while I navigate these waters. Who knows, we could wake up in recovery next to one another and cheer each other on. All the best as always.

  7. sharon frank says:

    Dear Loren,

    On the eve of rosh hashansh which is the beginning of the new year in judaism, you Are especially in my prayers for this is when we begin to ask G-d to write our names in the Book of Life for another year. You have lived a great life and have been a great person, a teacher, and someone who is gentle but also strong with your teachings in all of your career. All of this continue to be demonstrated through your illness and your struggle to fight it with courage. May you and your family be written into the Book of Life And keep living and inspiring us.

  8. Laurette Schwab says:

    Hello Loren and Susie, My name is Laurette and I have been following you guys. Loren, I was off from my last job and I was out of work for ten months and just started a new job two weeks ago. I will be driving to Orange County and back to San Diego for work. Loren, as I was driving in traffic today for my new job I asked myself (WHAT MATTERS?). I know I must make a living to pay my mortgage on my condo but, I just want to make sure I am making the most of myself and give back. I just wanted to get your thoughts and learn more from you, as I respect your opinion. As you said, you have learned so much since your diagnosis and I know you have so much to share. I love your positive attitude. So, back to my question (what Matters in life) Sincerely, Laurette Schwab

  9. Louise says:

    You keep doing whatever you need to do! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER get left in the dust again!

  10. Anonymous says:

    You Da man Loren I will be walking for the cause for you and in memory of my amazing Dad I lost to Cancer in 2007. Your strength, determination, sense of humor,
    and all of the amazing support you have are going to get you and your amazing family through this . I admire your courage and sharing your story with all of us who love you ❤ my best Loren to all of you !!!!!!

  11. Nancy Peevey says:

    Loren and Susie, I just reposted Loren’s beautifully written and inspiring blog post. The more prayers, the better. With love and prayers for you and your entire family.

  12. DuAnne Buono says:

    Loren, you and your family are an inspiration to us all. The power of love is a wonderful thing and we all love you. Let medicine do its job and let us all carry some of your burden. Keep on being that warm, wonderful person you have always been. Keep letting us in to your life and hopefully our positive prayers and thoughts will help you in some small way. Keep Smiling!

  13. susan says:

    God is always with you and each and everyone of us…walking with us. You are loved you make a difference you are blessed.

  14. http://www.cduma.com/about/ A magnificent man Dr. Duma…performing miracles. He took care of my friend’s sister’s malignant brain tumor. He works out of Hoag in Newport Beach. Might be worth checking him out. Love to you and your family Loren. NEGU! ❤ Nancy Robertson Drake Lord…..

  15. lavelle snortum says:

    i always look forward to reading your story. you are really inspiring to me and my family. we pray for your recovery loren and admire susie for all that she does. you both rock.
    love from the snortum family always.

  16. Nenette Popiela-West says:

    Loren, I say a prayer for you and your family. I hope things will turn around for you soon.
    And I also hope you are seeing a top notch oncologist, not just someone who is’ pretending to be a good one’. I wish you and your family well. Keep the faith!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Dear Lauren,

    Your posts at times make my heart heavy, teary-eyed, grateful, smiling, heavy sigh unintentionally and more frequent then not, they give me the “kick in the butt” I need. I never know from one post to the next, how I will feel. However, the one thing your posts ALWAYS do is…inspire. My prayers are with you and your family. Connie Kenyon

  18. Billy Netherton says:

    You ate always in our thoughts an prayers.we admire your will an courage good luck

  19. Connie Gladen says:

    Hey Loren, I’ve been following you but haven’t commented yet because my heart was breaking for you! You have been there for me whenever I had a question about any flowers, bugs, chemicals or whatever. You never thought any of my questions were stupid or infantile. You just answered with great respect. You have been my favorite “go to” person and told so many people that they could ask you anything and you would have the right answer.

    I am praying for you and keeping you in my thoughts each day. I wish you health and love. You are making me so much more aware of my surroundings and taking time to smell my roses. I am so appreciative of Susie & Hannah and send them my love also. Connie Gladen, Spring Valley

  20. Kate says:

    Being the youngest of six and going through major back surgery and a body cast at 15, I understand the feeling of being left in the dust! I know you are going through a different journey though and I so admire your grace, dignity and courage to plough ahead!

    Worked with you back in the 80’s at KFMB… you were always a warm, smiling face in the halls! I wish you and your family the best! Thanks for sharing your journey. You are all such talented writers!

    Big hugs to you all.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Love you Loren! Your friend , Lorraine!

  22. Treva Jackson says:

    Thank you for your words. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated. I’m praying for you and your wonderful family!

  23. Judith Scarborough says:

    Loren, I’ve been following your blog and your journey even though I moved away from San Diego and you to Spokane 9 years ago. We have Mark Petersen on one of our news stations up here who does human interest and garden stories, somewhat, like you, but who can match the master? You are in my prayers and if anyone can beat this C-thing, it is you. Love and hugs, from a former viewer, and constant fan. Judith Of Normal Heights (even though I live in Franklin Park, Spokane, now…still near parks!)

  24. Louise Ganus says:

    Speaker Man and Louise are still with you. Hang in there. We are sending our prayers upward and onward —wherever they maybe received.

  25. Jackie S. says:

    Am praying for you both!

  26. Laura Mercer says:

    Loren and Susie, You are in my thoughts… Stay strong!!!

  27. Bobbie C. says:

    Dear Loren & Susie:
    You two are really stretching yourselves through this experience called cancer. I agree with Kitty McGee above, so one side works and the other doesn’t – let it rest for a while but not for too long. Amazing to hear that your radiation treatment overdid its job! So maybe that scar tissue could be considered as something similar to a callus that just needs some shaving off to make it nice and healthy again. You’re up for it and that is what keeps you going to the next level of your recovery.

    I recently joined a running and walking club. Many of the members are training for the Carlsbad Half Marathon in January 2014. I’ve only ever walked around the block a couple of times with my little Chihuahua, and just last week I walked 5 miles around De Anza Cove. I’m proud of that but I’m even more proud of my walking partner who is a cancer survivor – she gets out almost every day of the week and walks. Right now she is struggling with scar tissue in her esophageal track which is causing eating and digestive problems. This stems from radiation treatment years ago. So I guess what happens is the treatments are curing cancer but the residual effects are often an annoying side effect of being cancer free!

    Some day the doctors and scientists will know the answer to this problem too. But it is still GREAT that you are cancer free, especially free of “the C-Blob” that used to take up space in your brain. So some fine tuning and minor adjustments will take place soon, and then it’s back to being yourself, whatever version of you it is after this next surgery!

  28. Survivor says:

    Hi I am a Breast Cancer survivor . I feel and understand some of what you are going through . I wanted to tell you about my friend she had breast then came back in her brain. She did the radiation and had the same thing scar tissue they weren’t too sure if it was scar tissue growing or the tumor .She lives here and found out about a surgery inCleveland Ohio that they do they don’t do it here . It’s done in a MRI so they go through the brain to blast the scar tissue and if anything is left of the tumor they can actually see what they are doing through the MRI and guide the radiation and blast it out . She had this done only like 4 months ago and now doing great. Also check into Hyperbaric chamber . There was a lady in there that had a brain tumor and she could not move her left side well she could move her arm but very little. I saw her after a month and she is doing so much better. I will find out the name of this surgery they do in Cleveland but no hospital around here does it.
    We have to be our best advocate in this situation and learn a lot of things real fast. I was a 44 yr old single mom with stage 3 . It’s very scary just try to enjoy as much as possible have faith. Lots of positive energy I am sending your way

  29. Sherry says:

    Always admired and APPRECIATED you…

    Once again… Stephens biological Auntie

  30. So many are praying and hoping for the best for you and your family we are in that line.

    Best ever Pat and Oscar

  31. Anonymous says:

    Hi Loren, In 1991 My Mom had a cerebral hemorrhage and was unable to communicate. I was in my 20’s and was told she had a 40% survival rate. I made the decision to opt. for surgery and am still blessed with a witty woman (a little deaf…though). The body and faith always tries. Bob & Nora

    The Costa Rica Folks

  32. Judy knight says:

    Loren, you are a real miracle and you have touched so many people. You have given them courage, strength and show them how to love no matter what. Many prayers and healing thoughts to you!!

  33. Dayna Street Brockhoff says:

    I’ll be at the 5k SD Brain Cancer Run!
    I lost my mom ONE year ago today from a grade 4 Glioblastoma.
    Spread the word everyone!!
    Research is the only way we can beat this devastating cancer.
    Dayna Street Brockhoff
    Encinitas Native

  34. Debra Carson says:

    I believe every day counts….even if it wasn’t your best and it hurt, it still counts. Because at least you are feeling something, even if it’s pain. This makes the “feel good” times all the sweeter! I’m all about living life to it’s fullest every day, running with the pack as best you can and keep striving to keep up. But I also believe you have to take some time out of each day to come to stillness, to rest, to recuperate, to meditate and reminisce about your life’s journey thus far, and say to yourself “I’m enough, just the way I am”. I don’t believe any of us have guarantees about what the rest of our life will be like or even if we get a choice in how we live it. My only real choice I get every day is to live in “Atha” which is Sanskrit for “now”. Now is what matters….and it is enough. Namaste, Loren!

  35. Linda Grace says:

    Good for you Lauren…I so admire your attitude and strength…U live life to the fullest even when things are down…My prayers and Gods love go with you..

  36. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the update. You are in our Rosh Hashana prayers. Happy new year Loren. All our love, Cara and Don

  37. Barbara Ballard Longley says:

    So sorry to hear how things are going. Continue to pray for you and your family.

  38. Kim and Dennis says:

    Lauren, my husband is a brain cancer survivor for 5 years now… please know that I have always enjoyed and have been impressed with your work on TV. God has granted us 5 really great years– I hope that he is generous with you as well. You are in our prayers– God Bless you and your family

  39. Paul and Linda Hirt says:

    praying for you Loren. We moved from San Diego to Texas in 2006 but remember you well. We had a good friend with the same condition. We wish you best and pray your family will have you around for a long time. Hope the surgery will help pull you through this.

  40. Sally says:

    I love you two. You kind of help each other, I would like to think I could be as strong as Susie if faced with the same situation. God Bless you both.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Your pack needs you so fight on and kick the shit out of cancer, Loren.
    Maureen Ramirez

  42. Barbara Gravlin says:

    Loren, I only know you as a TV personality bigger than life. As I read about your brain
    cancer journey, I am reminded of one of my closest friends given 30 days to live in 1984 after being diagnosed with brain cancer. There was so little known then. However—she found out about macrobiotics developed in this country by Michio and Aveline Kushi located in Boston (It might be called the East West Institute–there is one in Northern Ca but doesn’t seem to be as fantastic as the one in Boston). Since there was no hope, she contacted The Kushi Institute, embraced macrobiotics and only about 3 years ago did she pass away. The tumor (astrocytoma) disappeared and she continued to be cancer free, but did lots of macrobiotic cooking for those who found out about her. “Recalled by Life” by Dr. Tony Satillero (sp) was the book we all read to assess and confirm our friend’s macrobiotic adventure. I enjoyed many cooking classes (in Laguna Beach–they probably have them here in S.D. now) and I especially enjoyed having my friend around for many years WAY beyond those 30 days. Your journey is so touching and, just like your work in communication, I am sure it is inspiring so many people.
    Miracles do happen. I forgot to mention that my friend found out about this whole way of life from someone far away who had been given the same diagnosis with the same brain tumor and was alive and well. It was very exciting.

    I shall continue to be inspired and count all the blessings of life no matter the size. Know that your strength, your attitude and your charisma and ability to write about this keeps us all going! Hang in there!!!!!! Barbara Gravlin

  43. I enjoy reading your posts, Loren. Very insightful and informative. Of course, I (and thousands others) wish you the best as you fight this beast. Reminds me a bit of my late colleague Drew Silvern , a UT reporter who fought his cancer to the very end and wrote a series of stories that ripped out my heart they were so wonderful. Win or lose, you’re an inspiring dude with lots to say.

  44. will be praying for you. I hope you will be surrounded by wise counsel and that the outcome of this (either surgery or not) will result in a full steam ahead ability. Take care, and know you are in my prayers often. DAF

  45. Pat Brown says:

    Thinking of you so often, Loren! Bravo for making the tough decisions with class and good humor! We’re learning from you all the time…

  46. Mark Read says:

    All these years of concoctions that extend the life of roses, Christmas trees, and you name what else, it seems you would have a thing or two up your sleeve to fight and win this battle. God Bless you and your family.

  47. Patti Wissehr says:

    You are courageous!! Go get em! You can do this 🙂

  48. Julie Berg says:

    I will be walking. I know My dad died @ 60 from Melanoma that cAme back in his brain. I am glad I can do something to help. You are an inspiration! In my thoughts & prayers.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Blessings to you and yours, Loren.

  50. Nancy Michaels says:

    Tough choice but you are strong and will no doubt come through just fine. I will never forget the one and only time I met you in person. I was in line at El Indio takeout and I turned around and there you were! It was circa 1978-80 give or take a few years. Of course I was shy and couldn’t get out more than a ” Hi Lauren!” Maybe we’ll meet again in a line someday, somewhere..and I’ll be sure to give you a hug and more than 2 words this time. Rest, enjoy life, and stay on that path with the dust trailing behind you.

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